The heat can punish the most well conditioned athlete and in some cases can be lethal. With the help of two time Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander and meteorologist Amy Freeze, we have put together safety tips for training and racing in the heat.
Alexander shared these tips for training and racing that he uses.
• Sip, sip, sip. Don't guzzle your hydration. Little bits often keeps you cooled off and hydrated. It helps your body digest easier and absorb into your system.
• Use common sense- If you are feeling worn down, take in more fluid. There is no special award for "being tough," in the heat, you have to listen to your body and take care of what it is saying.
• Start Early-If you have a big workout in the morning and you know it's going to be hot, make sure to start hydrating the night before.
• Start Early- Craig starts to hydrate early in the week. I usually start, Thursday or Friday to make sure that I am stocking up, without over doing it."
• During a race- Don't panic. As hot as it was at Racine 70.3 last year, Craig lost a water bottle in the first mile of the bike. "I knew I would be OK with what I had and relied on the aid stations to keep me going, you adjust, relax and move on."
Craig adds, "Staying calm is always vital to a successful, there is no such thing as a perfect race. Greg Welsh lost his transition bag in Kona, that would have thrown most people into a tail spin, instead that was the year he won!"
We are in a heat advisory, facing potential record highs in the next few days, with that in mind Freeze shared some additional things to take into consideration.
"The #1 thing is stay out of the heat in the middle of the day, this is when it is the hottest and the most dangerous. If you want to train in the heat, do it in the early morning or later in the evening, when it is still going to be hot, but not as dangerous."
Amy warms that
even if you have been training in the heat and trying to acclimate, the
next few days are a different story. "The effect gets worse as the day
goes on for an athlete, it's a more cumulative effect, it will
eventually take its toll. The human body can only take so much stress,
before you start to do damage."
Last Summer Freeze traveled to Da' Bears training camp and spoke to their trainers about the effects of this heat. " They can lose between 6 and 10 pounds in a workout! They weigh them, make them drink electrolytes and take in the proper nourishment to keep them healthy and safe. If they lose too much water weight in a day and can't gain it back, they don't go on the field."
That's a great point. Hydration means more than water, you need to be taking in electrolytes while you are out exercising.
If you are going to run, hit the treadmill. I know it's not ideal, but staying inside could help keep you alive and avoid heat stroke and other things that will slow you down for the long term.
It should go without saying, but also make sure to keep your running buddies at home. This is not the time to be running with your pets. They don't have wickable clothing and exercise in this heat could kill them.
If you have to get in some cardio, hit the pool or the lake and swim. Now is a good time to work on open water swimming. Make sure there is a life guard on hand, it's light outside and if you can't swim with a friend, let someone know where you are going.